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									          The Contributionof BusinessHistory to the
                       Business School Curriculum
                                 BruceR. Dalgaard*
                                University Minnesota

       Schools of business are experiencing tremendous enrollment
increases.    These enrollment   increases place great pressure on
business educators to provide curricula      which meet student needs.
While enrollment increases may begin to moderate, the pressure to
address student needs will not.       A major component of curricula
attention   must be directed   toward the development of courses
which challenge students to move beyond their specialized       fields
of study to consider the socioeconomic impact of management
decisions.    The comments which follow point out how the study of
business and economic history can assist in the attainment of
this goal and what factors should be considered in curriculum


     A recent        survey of American Assembly of Collegiate        Schools
of Business.(AACSB) members provides           insight   into   the extent   to
which history  is included in business school curricula.        David A.
Van Fleet and Daniel A. Wren surveyed 563 AACSB institutions          as
well as 181 Business History Conference members. They received
313 responses.    The survey results   indicate   that there is a
widespread feeling that history,     in one form or another, is part
of business schools' curricula.      (The authors included the follow-
ing as types of history:    accounting history,     economic history,
history of economic thought, and history of management thought.)
History is usually taught as a part of a course or courses rather
than as one or more separate courses.       Furthermore, history in
the business school is usually taught by nonhistorians.         Based
upon the results of the survey, one might tentatively        conclude
that undergraduate and graduate students in business schools are
exposed to history   in some fashion but not systematically      and not
by trained business or economic historians.

CONTRIBUTION            OF HISTORY           IN    THE BUSINESS             SCHOOL

     Business and economic history can make a number of contribu-
tions to the intellectual   and professional   growth of business
school students.    The most significant  contributions  of business
and economic history are in terms of (1) values formation and
clarification,     (2)             an understanding of the impact of management
decisions,     and (3)             a basis for communication accross sectors of
           Consideration           of    the      contribution             of    business     and     economic
history should be undertaken in the context of the comments made
by Peter F. Drucker at the Wharton School Convocation.    Drucker
pointed out that business education must expand to include an
alternative constituency.   No longer can business education be
directed          exclusively           at   the     traditional            student.         Professionals
will       increasingly           turn to the university                        for "in-service"            educa-
tion       to maintain        themselves            within        a rapidly            changing      profession.
Drucker          commented        further         that   business           education        needs     to   be
altered and expanded to provide management training      for decision-
makers in the public as well as the private sector.       The issues
raised by Drucker make the contribution      of business and economic
history  illustrated   by the three factors already listed   more
obvious.     Each of those factors is briefly   discussed in what

Values        Clarification

      The study of business and economic history     provides the
oppotunity for students to clarify      their values objectively  by
exploring   in a historical   context what might otherwise be an
emotion-laden   issue.    By discussing historical  issues rather than
contemporary issues, anxiety can be reduced and productive       discus-
sion       can    be    maximized.             Instructors           can    choose       various      historical
conflicts,   elicit   opinions,   and then illuminate consistent    or
inconsistent    viewpoints.     The goal of such an activity    is not the
alteration   of existing    values but rather the clarification     of
individuals'             values.         Such clarification                     will    allow prospective
managers to approach management decisions with a clear                                                understand-
ing of their preconceived viewpoints and values.

Impact        of Decision-Making

      In an interview before he left the presidency of New York
University,  John Sawhill commented that what concerned him was
"that       to    the    extent      businessmen             don't     consider          some of      the    broader
social ramifications of their decision-making,  the government
steps in and then... complex and unworkable regulatory  systems
[are] established."  Sawhill's comment underscores the need for
managers to develop an awareness of the interdependence of various

sectors      of the socioeconomic                 system.       In addition          to awareness,
managers need to develop the ability                          to anticipate             the results             of
their      decisions          on the full        spectrum of individuals                 and institu-
      Business and economic history  can be used to illuminate
problems.    The business and economic history courses can serve as
the laboratory where management decisions can be examined with
known      outcomes.           Decisions       can   be   evaluated       in    terms       of     the
decision-making   involved as well as in terms of the outcomes
generated.    American business history provides sufficient  differ-
ent management problems and decisions   to allow for an evaluation
of a full          sequence of situations.

Communications             Across    Sectors

          If managers are to deal with the "broader social                                   ramifications
of their       decision-making,"               they need to be able                 to communicate
across sectors of society.   What today is often described      as
jammed communications between government, business,     and society
in general may in part have resulted   from the overspecialization
of college  curricula.  This situation   of jammed communications
creates a problem which must be addressed within    business school
curricula.            If   Drucker's       recommendation to broaden management
training       is considered,  the necessity                    of providing   a vehicle to
develop       communication across sectors                     of society   becomes even more
      Business and economic history   can, in part,  serve to provide
such a vehicle.    A course which explores   the impact of business
decisions allows for managers from all sectors of society,       busi-
ness, government, education,    and so on, to focus on the decision-
making process and its applicability    to their chosen field    as
well as the results   of the decision and their impact on all
sectors of society.    This commonality of experience     in the analysis
of historical   events provides a basis for intersectoral     communi-
cation which can continue beyond the classroom experience.


      There         are   a number  of factors              which    must      be   taken        into
account   as        business   educators    make            curricular         decisions.               Business
educators must consider (1) student characteristics, (2) goals
and objectives, (3) course content, and (4) methodology. What
follows       is    a brief      review     of    these     characteristics.                This        model
for      curricular        formation       could be applied            to virtually              any aspect
of higher          education.

Student       Characteristics

     The students themselves must be considered when designing a
business history course. Questions such as the following can

help in curriculum development.                                What kind of students will                        take
the course? If undergraduates with no work experience, they will
be looking for a course which creates experiences for them.
Adult learners with practical experience will be looking to use
their experiences as a context for learning.   Where do the
students go when they complete their business education?    Or,
where do they think they will go? The type of job placement
should influence                  course design.

Goals and Objectives

      Goals refer to the general goals of the business education
program. A business history course should complement overall
curricular  goals.  Objectives refer to the reasons for using
business history as a component of the overall business education
program.   Specific course objectives should ensure that the
business history course moves the students toward the program's


     After considering                       student characteristics, program goals,
and course objectives,                       curriculum developers need to address the
issue       of    course       content.             Will     the        course     or    courses       under    con-
sideration  concentrate on business history?   economic history?
Will course content include the history of specific   disciplines?
the history  of managerial or economic thought?   Business educators
need to consider whether the course will serve as an overview,
whether          there     will       be    coordination                with     other    courses       and    whether
it   will        be organized              thematically             or chronologically.


          Once the foregoing                   issues are resolved,                      a decision        needs to
be made about who will                       teach         the course,            a trained        historian       or a
business historian.                        Perhaps the course should be team-taught;
and business              educators          will      need        to    consider        the   level     at    which
the course will be offered,  its sequence and scope, whether it
will be taught using case methods or with a strong theoretical
orientation.   These are but a few of the methodological factors
which       merit        attention.


     In a period of general reassessment of the purposes and
conduct of higher education, business educators cannot escape the
need      to     reexamine         business           school        curricula.            Such reexamination
must include an evaluation                            of the purposes and processes of
business          school training.

     When Joseph Wharton made a gift           to the University  of
Pennsylvania which was used to start           the School of Finance       and
Economy, the donor felt that "practical   instruction  should be
solidly grounded in a classical  education."    The business school
curriculum   of today is distinctly        different   from that   which
originated   fromWharton's    gift.   Nonetheless, if         spokesmenlike
Drucker and Sawhill    are any indication,         there   is increasing
pressure for the business school curriculum       to address the broader
social ramifications     of management decisions.
      Especially   considering   this concern, business history   can
provide a framework for course development designed to meet
contemporary needs.      The foregoing comments were intended to
demonstrate how business history      can be used and what factors
need to be considered    in curriculum       development.


      *For sources of this paper, contact Professor Bruce R.
Dalgaard,  Center for Economic Education,  1169 Business Administra-
tion Building,   University of Minnesota, Minneapolis,  MN 55455.


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